CDC puts Aruba at risk of ‘high levels of Covid-19’ travel

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(CNN) – In its first update of travel advice for 2022, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has just added one new destination – a popular Caribbean winter getaway – to its highest-risk category.

CDC advises travelers to avoid Aruba, a Dutch island just off the coast of South America, as it now lives at level 4, which has a “very high level” of COVID-19 risk.

The CDC places a destination at level 4 when more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents have been reported in the past 28 days.

This is a slowdown from the pace of growth over the past two weeks. A week ago, Sweden and two other European countries were added to Level 4 and two weeks ago, Spain and seven other destinations around the world were added to Level 4.

Europe’s continuing troubles

Europe’s COVID-19 travel situation just improved slightly this week. The CDC moved only two destinations on that continent—neither heavy-hitters—at the lower levels (see Level 3 below).

Some of its biggest travel names are firmly on CDC’s Level 4 for now:

• France
• Germany
• Greece
, Ireland
• Italy
• Netherlands
• Portugal
• Spain
• Switzerland
• United Kingdom

Actually, the United Kingdom has been at Level 4 since July 19.

However, Europe is not the only continent with popular tourist destinations at Level 4. There are also other places considered “very high” risk for travel:

• Belize
• Jordan
• Maldives
• South Africa
• Turkey

As of 4 January, more than 80 destinations were rated Level 4. You can view CDC’s risk levels for global destinations on its travel recommendation page.

cruising

Norwegian Gem, owned by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, is established in PortMiami in August 2021.

Norwegian Gem, owned by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, is established in PortMiami in August 2021.

Joe Redl / Getty Images

Since the announcement, one of the largest cruise ships operating in the Mediterranean has become the latest to be hit by the COVID outbreak. MSC Cruises confirmed that 45 Covid-positive passengers were disembarked from its MSC Grandiosa vessel in the Italian port of Genoa on Monday – less than 1% on board.

level 3 extra

A view of Peles Castle in Sinaia, Romania.  This Eastern European nation was moved to Level 3 on Monday.

A view of Peles Castle in Sinaia, Romania. This Eastern European nation was moved to Level 3 on Monday.

Victor Moussa/Adobe Stock

The Level 3 category – which applies to destinations that have had 100 to 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days – added eight new ones on Tuesday from different regions:

• Azerbaijan
• Bahamas
• Kenya
• Moldova
• Mongolia
• Romania
• Sint Maarten
• Suriname

According to the CDC, the Level 3 designation was actually good news for Azerbaijan, Moldova, Mongolia and Romania, which was previously at Level 4. In fact, Mongolia was there since May 19.

It was a step in the wrong direction for the Bahamas and Sint Maarten, which were at Level 2, and Kenya, which were even lower (and safer) at Level 1.

Last week, the isolated South American nation of Suriname was listed as “unknown,” meaning the CDC did not have enough data to create a designation.

level 2

Destinations with the designation “Level 2: COVID-19 Moderate” have seen 50 to 99 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days. At that stage four new ones were added on Tuesday, three of them in Africa:

• Costa Rica
• Madagascar
• Nigeria
• Zambia

Costa Rica, a Central American favorite loved for its natural beauty and wildlife, dropped below Level 3.

The move did not bode well for Nigeria and Zambia, which were at the first level.

Madagascar, the large island nation off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, was previously ranked “unknown”.

level 1

In the category of “Level 1: COVID-19 low” destinations, fewer than 50 new cases per 100,000 residents have been reported in the past 28 days. There were two new entries at this stage:

• Niger
• Philippines

Niger, a landlocked nation in West Africa perhaps best known for its historic Saharan caravan cities, saw a major decline. It was at level 4.

The Philippines, famous for its beaches, cuisine and friendly people, dropped from level 2.

Pineapple

Finally, there are the destinations mentioned above, for which CDC has an “unknown” risk due to a lack of information. Usually, but not always, these are small, inaccessible places.

But on Tuesday, the CDC added the modern city-state Singapore, An international crossroads for this category. It was earlier at level 4.

The CDC warns fully vaccinated travelers about traveling to destinations where there are no reliable data about the current COVID-19 situation.

In its comprehensive travel guidance, the CDC recommends avoiding all international travel until you have been fully vaccinated.
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